Nice weather for ducks

First published on the Golf Monthly website on Thursday 31st May 2007

It’s pouring with rain and the course is absolutely soaked. But did it really have to close?

I’ve played golf in some atrocious conditions. In mid-winter I’ve stepped out optimistically onto the course into the teeth of a blizzard, I’ve battled hurricane-force winds and sub-zero temperatures just to get my golfing fix. I may lack mental fortitude in many departments but braving the elements isn’t one of them. As a result, I absolutely cannot stand it when a golf course closes. I’m not the only one. At Banchory a couple of winters ago about a foot of snow fell during one night. A fourball of older members were absolutely incensed when they arrived for their 9.07 tee time to discover they wouldn’t be allowed out for their weekly 20 pence match. “What’s the problem?” they asked. “We’ve got orange balls.”

From Sunday until last night (Wednesday) it’s been lashing down with rain. There’s a puddle outside our front door that’s deep enough for my dog to have a swim in. Banchory golf course put up a valiant fight against the deluge, but yesterday the greenkeeper was forced to admit defeat and the “Course Closed” signs went up to the sound of much booing and jeering from the clubhouse.

It’s open again today but yesterday, Wednesday May 30 2007, is irrevocably lost. Goodness only knows what golfing heroism may have occurred had the few intrepid warriors still brave enough to attempt a game been allowed to go out to battle. Someone could have scored a first hole-in-one, someone could have overcome the yips or found the key to producing the perfect swing. But no, all were confined to barracks because of a little moisture on the fairways. What a shame.

Henry V may not have won the battle of Agincourt had he abandoned play because of the rain and heavy going underfoot. In fact, it worked to his advantage as the massively larger French army got, quite literally, stuck in the mud. On Tuesday night Jim and I did a Henry V in our first-round match of the club foursomes. It was pouring with rain but we drew on our Alliance experience to deal with the bad weather better than our opponents. Out came the rain gloves, the brollies and the waterproofs. Headcovers were removed and towels tied under umbrellas. We barely felt the rain as we cantered home to victory. Actually we played pretty badly but managed to be just slightly less bad than the opposition.

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